Lecture Will Explore the Dangers of Hardware Hackers in a World of Interconnected Devices

Silicon Security Takes the Spotlight at NYU/Sloan Lecture on April 25

Digital art of a lock

The eighth event in a series of open lectures on cybersecurity and privacy at the New York University Tandon School of Engineering will convene in Downtown Brooklyn on Tuesday, April 25, 2017, with an exploration of the hardware security challenges posed by interconnected devices and cloud computing. Convergence of IoT, Cloud, Security: A Perfect Storm will feature Walden (Wally) C. Rhines, president and chief executive officer of Mentor Graphics, who will discuss the growing threat posed by hardware hackers and malicious modifications to the integrated circuits that power today’s computers, smartphones, and other Internet-connected devices.

Security risks tied to malware or viruses in applications or operating systems are well documented and familiar to many computer users. But those threats tend to be limited — an attack is typically tied to a specific piece of software and impacts users individually. By contrast, even small malicious modifications or compromised performance in the devices’ underlying silicon circuits can devastate system security for all users. The potential damage from hardware attacks grows exponentially as more devices are connected to the Internet and to each other, and experts believe that new strategies are needed to secure the production chain.

“Providing a trusted product is central to the relationship between integrated circuit designers and their customers,” said Rhines. “Mitigating the risk of malicious hardware modifications means creating a new paradigm for silicon design creation and verification — one that doesn’t just verify that circuits are performing as expected, but also ensures that no unexpected actions are taking place.”

Walden (Wally) C. Rhines

Walden C. Rhines

Rhines’ lecture will be followed by a panel discussion featuring Brian Cohen, Research Staff Member in the Information Technology and Systems Division of the Institute for Defense Analyses, Michael Fritze, Senior Fellow at the Potomac Institute for Policy Studies, and Mark M. Tehranipoor, the Intel Charles E. Young Preeminence Endowed Chair Professor of Cybersecurity at the University of Florida. Ramesh Karri, Professor of Electrical and Computer Engineering at NYU Tandon and a leading academic researcher on hardware trustworthiness, will moderate a discussion of the implications of Rhines’ recommendations. NYU Tandon Professor of Computer Science and Associate Dean for Online Learning Nasir Memon will deliver opening and closing remarks.

This lecture is the latest in a series sponsored by NYU Tandon in partnership with the Alfred P. Sloan Foundation. Since the series’ inception in 2012, NYU/Sloan Lectures have become an established forum for representatives from the business community, government agencies, nonprofits, academia, and the media to convene around critical issues of security and privacy.

Admission to the NYU/Sloan Lecture is free, but space is limited, and registration is required to attend in person or to watch the lecture streamed live in high definition. Viewers may submit questions for the panelists during the lecture at cyberlectureseries@nyu.edu or on Twitter @cyberlecture. Follow discussions at #NYUCyberLecture.

Convergence of IoT, Cloud, Security: A Perfect Storm is made possible in part through the support of the Alfred P. Sloan Foundation, the principal sponsor of this lecture and the NYU/Sloan Lecture series. Co-sponsors include the NYU Center for Cyber Security and NYU Tandon Online.

NYU Tandon is an internationally recognized center for cyber security research, education, and policy. It has received all three Center of Excellence designations from the National Security Agency and the United States Cyber Command.  NYU Tandon has joined with other NYU schools to form the NYU Center for Cyber Security to research new approaches to security and privacy by combining security technology, psychology, law, public policy, and business.

U.S. News & World Report scored NYU Tandon number 3 in the nation in its 2017 rankings of the "Best Online Graduate Programs in Computer Information Technology" and gave it the top spot in the Northeast region. U.S. News & World Report also ranked NYU Tandon number 11 among the “Best Online Graduate Engineering Programs,” the fifth consecutive year that the overall online engineering program was named to the top tier. Its virtual cyber security program was previously named the nation’s best online program by the Sloan Consortium (now the Online Learning Consortium). NYU Tandon Online received the Consortium’s 2015 Ralph E. Gomory Award for Quality Online Education. 

About the New York University Tandon School of Engineering
The NYU Tandon School of Engineering dates to 1854, the founding date for both the New York University School of Civil Engineering and Architecture and the Brooklyn Collegiate and Polytechnic Institute (widely known as Brooklyn Poly). A January 2014 merger created a comprehensive school of education and research in engineering and applied sciences, rooted in a tradition of invention and entrepreneurship and dedicated to furthering technology in service to society. In addition to its main location in Brooklyn, NYU Tandon collaborates with other schools within NYU, the country’s largest private research university, and is closely connected to engineering programs at NYU Abu Dhabi and NYU Shanghai. It operates Future Labs focused on start-up businesses in downtown Manhattan and Brooklyn and an award-winning online graduate program. For more information, visit engineering.nyu.edu.

About the Alfred P. Sloan Foundation
The Alfred P. Sloan Foundation is a philanthropic not-for-profit grantmaking institution based in New York City. Founded in 1934 by Alfred Pritchard Sloan Jr., then President and CEO of General Motors, the Foundation makes grants primarily to support original research and education related to science, technology, engineering, mathematics, and economics. The Foundation believes that these fields — and the scholars and practitioners who work in them — are chief drivers of the nation's health and prosperity. The Foundation also believes that a reasoned, systematic understanding of the forces of nature and society, when applied inventively and wisely, can lead to a better world for all. The NYU Tandon School of Engineering Cyber Security Lecture Series is funded through the Sloan Foundation’s New York City Initiatives program, which supports New York City–based projects that advance the Foundation’s mission. For more information, visit sloan.org.